| Added On November 6, 2010
If you are the victim in a personal injury accident case, and are not familiar with the legal system or have never been a victim before, it is easy to get confused and frustrated with the amount of time that it takes to settle a case. With the proliferation of legal dramas on television it is not surprising that many personal injury accident victims are under the impression that they can hire a lawyer one day and have the case settled by the end of the week. Or even worse, that the case will go to trial the next week! The reality of a personal injury accident case is much different than what is portrayed on television. While there are some personal injury accident cases that can be settled in a relatively short period of time, most of them take months or even years to settle depending on the issues involved in the case and the extent of the victim’s injuries says California personal injury attorney Emery Ledger of Ledger and Associates. So why does it take so long to settle a personal injury accident case?
The personal injury litigation process begins when you retain the services of an attorney. Your attorney will then contact the insurance company for the negligent party – assuming they have liability insurance coverage. In some cases, the insurance company information is already known by the victim. In other cases, the attorney must first contact the defendant (the negligent party) to ascertain whether he has insurance coverage and if so with what insurance company. Your attorney will let the insurance company know that you have retained counsel at that point. The insurance company must then direct all contact to your attorney regarding the case.
Your attorney will then begin the process of investigating your case. The first issue is negligence. Negligence is a legal term meaning fault. In some cases, negligence is obvious and the defendant’s insurance company concedes negligence from the start. That helps move the case along toward settlement. Other times, however, the insurance company denies negligence. In that case, your attorney must prove that the defendant was negligent. This may mean conducting depositions, hiring accident reconstruction experts, interviewing witnesses and any number of other time consuming investigative techniques designed to prove that the defendant was at fault. If your attorney cannot prove negligence then you will recover nothing for your injuries, Therefore, as much time is necessary must be spent on proving negligence.
The other issue in a personal injury case is damages. “Damages” is a legal term used to describe the injuries you have suffered. Again, in some cases your injuries are minor and easy to determine. In other cases, you may need weeks or months of treatment before the extent of your damages can be determined. In California, you are entitled to compensation for present AND future medical bills associated with your injuries. For that reason, your personal injury attorney will want to wait until your treating physician can competently testify to the extent of your injuries AND what future treatment you may need as a result of those injuries. You only have one shot at compensation so it is critically important that you account for all your injuries before accepting a settlement.
As you can see, settling a personal injury accident case can take a considerable amount of time when it is done the right way. If you have suffered injuries and believe that you have a California personal injury case, contact the personal injury law firm of Ledger & Associates for a no cost detailed evaluation of your case at 1-800-300-0001 or visit them online at www.ledgerlaw.com.